Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday November 5, 2022
Where is Pierre Poilievre as the facts come out about the ‘Freedom Convoy’?
One story about the convoy protest is not aging well in 13 days of public hearings into events that rattled through Canada last winter.
This is the story — still embraced by some Conservative MPs and strident fans of the demonstrators— that the so called “Freedom Convoy” was merely a giant party that would have ended if the participants got a fair hearing from Justin Trudeau’s government.
One OPP intelligence assessment on Feb. 14, as the Star has reported, warned that “potential for conflict or an act of violence is likely increasing as the Ottawa blockade continues.”
This same assessment also served notice that some protesters “appear to be largely unconcerned about potential legal consequences, as they view the state’s institutions as illegitimate and their own ‘fight for freedom’ as all important. Some view themselves as being at war with the Canadian government and everything it represents.”
This may be why Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre hasn’t been seen anywhere near these hearings, giving the kind of support to the convoy he did last winter. Ditto for former leader Andrew Scheer or any of the other MPs who cheered on the protest, even after it was deemed a full-fledged occupation of Canada’s capital in its earliest days.
It may still remain an open question on whether Canada was in the throes of a full-fledged emergency when Trudeau’s government invoked the declaration to end the protest on Feb. 14.
But the notion that this was just an innocent protest romp — a cold-weather Canada Day with trucks and hot tubs — is simply unsustainable in the face of all the testimony to date at the hearings.
As recently as June, Poilievre was also still insisting on social media “that Trudeau could have ended the trucker protest in one day, if he’d had the guts to listen to the people — and let them go back to their jobs.”
But police and intelligence officials, from all levels and despite their internal spats, have testified that negotiation of any type had its limits, especially because there was no one overall group controlling the protest or demonstrators. Demands, such as they were, ranged from ridiculous (oust the prime minister) to totally unrealistic (end all vaccine mandates immediately.)
Poilievre and the Conservatives haven’t been asked yet how they square their support for the convoy in light of all that has been put on the record so far — the steady, sustained refrain from police and security officials that this was not a good episode for law and order in Canada. How this fits with the Conservative brand as law-and-order advocates remains to be seen too.
Now, the all-fun-and-games narrative may re-emerge during the rest of this week when the commission moves from police witnesses to testimony from the convoy organizers.
Lawyers for those organizers, when they’ve had a chance to cross-examine the police officers and political types, so far appear to be making the case that the convoy was mainly a peaceful winter carnival, with a few bad apples here and there.
Judging from mail I’ve received recently about the hearings, some Canadians still fiercely cling to that view too. “We travelled from Hamilton to see for ourselves, and you know what? We saw fun, happy, peaceful people from all backgrounds and regions in Canada. A DJ, pancake breakfast, bouncy castle, fun for the kids and not one instance of the terror, violence and fear you described,” one letter writer told me last Friday.
Unfortunately, that view of the convoy just isn’t standing up in the face of all the evidence presented to date. It isn’t the “Liberal media” or government operatives saying the convoy was dangerous — it is police and security officials, from all levels.
A national emergency? Maybe, maybe not. But just a fun party? That story no longer stands up. (The Toronto Star)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro … These sped up clips are posted to encourage others to be creative, to take advantage of the technology many of us already have and to use it to produce satire. Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comforted.